Welcome to the inaugural edition of INQUIRY, the segment where readers learn more about Thoroughbred industry members one question at a time. Sometimes the questions are serious, sometimes they're not, but the answers are always interesting.
To kick off the series, we examine the horses that captured the imaginations of Thoroughbred industry members, and ask them “Who was your first favorite racehorse?”
Phil Hager, Taproot Bloodstock
“The first one that I had an actual attachment to was probably Zenyatta. I was older then, but I was working for David Ingordo at the time. It was cool having that rooting interest. I had nothing to do with picking her out, but since you worked there, you wanted to see her keep that streak alive.”
Bernard McCormack, Cara Bloodstock
“My first favorite racehorse has to be Nijinsky. I was a schoolboy and I remember going to the races with my dad. He was a Canadian-bred, and I had no thoughts of ever working or having a career in Canada as a schoolboy, but I remember Nijinsky. I remember his great 2-year-old campaign, and following him as a 3-year-old, and Lorenzaccio beating him in the Champion Stakes, and just getting touched off in the Arc, but his other victories in the [English] Triple Crown, were incredible. Piggott at his best, Vincent O'Brien at his best. That would be the horse.”
Liz Crow, Elite Sales
“Forever Together. I worked for Jonathan Sheppard as a hotwalker when I was in college, and I got to take care of her. She won the Diana that year. She was my first favorite racehorse. And Summer Bird because I hit a massive bet on him, 11-1 in the Belmont, and paid my rent that month.”
Andrew Cary, Select Sales
“I actually grew up in Zimbabwe, and there was a horse that was running when I was a little kid called Island Farewell. She was a filly who won the Zimbabwe Triple Crown. I don't remember a lot of specifics. I just remember the first time going to the track when I was four or five years old and she was the great horse of the country. She was a filly beating the boys, and she was just a special horse that everybody knew, so that was one that stuck in my head as a youngster.”
Robert Knolhoff Jr., Bloodstock Agent
“My absolute favorite horse was Creme Freche. He ran in the Bold Reason Handicap on the 1987 Travers undercard and he was beginning to round back into form, and got nosed out that day by Jack of Clubs. He'd go on to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Meadowlands Cup that fall, but he kind of went through a spring and summer when he was finishing behind most of his big peers. In hindsight, I look back at the seconds and thirds that he had and thought how great it was to have a favorite horse that was always there, but back then, it was almost like rooting for the Mets. You took every defeat personally.”
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